Summer Jaguar Festival celebrates the E-type and other anniversaries in style at Bicester Heritage.

Fans of Jaguar celebrated the marque at Bicester Heritage on Sunday, July 4 at a COVID compliant event that included a seemingly never-ending sea of hundreds of Jaguar E-types stretching across the Oxfordshire countryside. The spectacle, designed to mark 60 years since the launch of the British motoring icon, was a sell-out show for the Summer Jaguar Festival, organised by the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and the Jaguar Drivers’ Club. There was something for everyone, with displays of Jaguars from all eras, both modern and historic.

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Jaguar fans were presented with the unique treat of seeing iconic Jaguars from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust collection out on the demonstration track at Bicester, circulating at speed and offering passenger rides to lucky ticket holders. This was a rare opportunity to see these historic Jaguars in motion on a circuit. The line – up included 77RW, the E-type famously driven through the night to the model’s launch at the Geneva Motor Show from Coventry by factory test driver Norman Dewis in March 1961. The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust’s European Touring Car Championship winning TWR XJS wowed the crowds with its awesome sounding V12 engine. Also, the trust’s XK120 that was specially prepared for driving seven days and seven nights at an average speed of over 100 miles per hour at Montlhéry near Paris in 1952, proved it could still circulate a track with vigour!

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The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust also treated guests to the unveiling of a special pair of artworks commissioned by the trust to artist Richard Neegaard. The pieces depict the famous Jaguar E-type, 77 RW in three-dimensional relief and feature genuine E-type components. These were unveiled at midday at the Summer Jaguar Festival to a rapturous applause and will be on display at the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Visitors also enjoyed displays that celebrated special anniversaries, from the 60th anniversary of the E-type and the Mark 10 to 25 years of XK8, 20 years of the modern classic X-type plus 35 years since the launch of the XJ40. The event also marked 70 years since the C-type secured Jaguar’s first victory at Le Mans driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead and was marked by a special display of Le Mans cars in the aircraft hangar. On track, a C-type vs D-type driving display rounded the afternoon off, with two factory-built cars entertaining onlookers with a mock Le Mans dog fight. The D-type being one of six long-nosed D-types built in 1956, finished in British Racing Green and originally used as one of the works cars for competition, before being campaigned successfully by Ecurie Ecosse.

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Interviews and commentary were ongoing throughout the day and broadcasted across the venue via the largest big screen TV in the UK, with Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club presenter Wayne Scott interviewing celebrities from across the Jaguar world. Interviewees included ex - Dealer Training Manager Peter Leake and the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club technical expert David Marks. Headlining the live stage interviews was the former Chairman and CEO of Jaguar, Sir John Egan who is credited with ‘saving’ the Jaguar brand in the 1980s.

Speaking during his interview at the show, Sir John Egan said:

“When I arrived at the factory gates, everybody was on strike. I started talking to the strikers and one said, I’ve got my bag of tools here, without these tools these cars don’t fit, I’m a craftsman. I said, “well I’ve come here to save the place and to make it as independent as it deserves to be”. That was the deal I had done with Michael Edwardes.”

The capacity crowd, who were all seated in the socially distanced outdoor space of the sponsors’ village green were also treated to an in-depth and very entertaining interview with Kevin McCloud star of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, about his life in television and his love for Jaguar cars.

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The headline sponsor, SNG Barratt Group, were on hand for all those classic Jaguar parts along with some stunning Jaguar cars that showcased their products. SNG Barratt also presented a celebration of the E-type and first Jaguar Le Mans win with a lunchtime parade on the Bicester Heritage track in between offering technical advice to attendees.

Pirelli were on hand to offer guidance on tyre choices and visitors could even test their driving abilities with the driving simulator. Visitors flocked to see the variety of Jaguar cars on the CMC stand, including a very impressive electric E-type. The E-types that dreams are made of were represented by Eagle and the company’s founder Henry Pearman showed off their incredible performance with a demonstration on track whilst visitors drooled over the examples on display back at their stand. Meguiar’s also displayed their highly modified Jaguar S-Type R, built in partnership with Swallows Racing, which was a point of lively debate and discussion for visitors.

Swallows Racing were supporting the paddock area as well as offering advice on Jaguar upgrades. Silverstone Auctions were also present offering support on re-homing Jaguars with new owners.

The aircraft hangar played host to an indoor trade show for the event with the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club’s own merchandise stand available for enthusiasts to pick up a memento from the day. Other traders were also available, selling everything from new-old stock parts and contemporary products for both classic and modern Jaguars, including Castrol Classic Oils, CBR Classic Restorations and Hamilton Classic.

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The Xk8 Celebrated 20 Years Whilst Its Successor The X150 Celebrated 15 Min

The culmination of the 2021 Summer Jaguar Festival was the unveiling of the winners in an exclusive Concours d’Elégance for E-types and a Pride of Ownership competition for all other anniversary Jaguars.

The Pride of Ownership winners were announced starting with third place taken by the XK8 of Max Thompson, in second was the XKR owned by Stephen Berry and the winner of Pride of Ownership was a lovely E-type owned by Phil Kenworthy. All received high scores from the judges and left the show with a piston trophy and a cleaning kit from the sponsors Meguiar’s.

The runners-up of the E-type Concours d’Elégance were presented with prizes by David Bagley from Salon Privé with the overall winner scooping a ‘money can’t buy’ VIP entry to compete at Salon Privé with their winning E-type at Blenheim Palace 1-5 September 2021. That incredible accolade went to Paul Bridges who will now be furiously preparing his E-type ready for its memorable moment on the world Concours stage! Third place went to David Croxson with second place going to Garry Snell.

Speaking on the live stage, the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club Chairman Ray Searles said:

It’s been a tough year for event organisers and car shows but we are overjoyed with the success of our first event in two years. A huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who made it happen and to the Jaguar community who rallied around to support us.”

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